Feds issue nine more indictments in New Orleans staged crash scheme

September 22, 2020

Land Line Staff

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Federal prosecutors have indicted nine more individuals in connection with a sweeping fraud scheme involving passenger vehicles intentionally crashing into commercial trucks and buses in order to file personal injury lawsuits.

Those charged in the Sept. 18 indictment:

  • Chandrika Brown, 29, of Slidell, La.
  • Dewayne Coleman, 21, of Marrero, La.
  • Cornelius Garrison, 54, of New Orleans.
  • Doniesha Gibson, 29, of New Orleans.
  • Donisesha Lee, 30, of Harvey, La.
  • Donreion Lee, 22, of Harvey, La.
  • Ishais Price, 49, of New Orleans.
  • Aisha Thompson, 42, of New Orleans.
  • Erica Lee Thompson, 46, of Harvey, La.

All nine defendants were charged in a seven-count federal indictment with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and six counts of mail fraud, according to a Sept. 18 indictment. The indictment alleges that the defendants intentionally used vehicles to cause staged motor vehicle crashes with commercial carriers in order to defraud these carriers and their insurance companies.

According to the indictments, there were five “slammers,” individuals who intentionally caused motor vehicle crashes to defraud commercial vehicles and insurance companies, operating in the New Orleans metropolitan area. Two alleged slammers, Damian LaBeaud and Roderick Hickman, are charged in previous indictments, and, two additional alleged slammers have since died. The latest indictment alleges Garrison was a slammer and that he is allegedly responsible for staging 50 crashes around New Orleans. The indictment also claims Garrison was paid $150,000 for his actions by an unnamed personal injury attorney in New Orleans.

According to the indictment, Garrison is alleged to have intentionally crashed into a passenger bus in 2015 and into a tractor-trailer owned by Averitt Express in 2017. Court records indicate the insurance providers of the truck and bus company paid out $707,500 in insurance claims related to the crashes.

Read the full indictment on the staged crash scheme here.

With the latest round of indictments, the number of individuals charged in the case has now grown to 28. In addition to federal indictments, LaBeaud and Mario Solomon, another defendant who has since pleaded guilty, and New Orleans attorney Danny Patrick Keating Jr. are being sued by a Louisiana trucking company in a federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act civil lawsuit. Keating has not been named or charged in connection with the criminal conspiracy.

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum penalty of five years for the conspiracy count and 20 years for the mail fraud as well as up to five years of probation and a fine of up to $250,000.

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